The Finnell Firm

Baby powder maker now target of criminal probe

The United States Department of Justice is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation into Johnson & Johnson over the presence of asbestos in its famous baby powder. While the details of the investigation are being kept private for now, the federal authorities have apparently asked the company to turn over a number of documents.

As previous posts here have discussed, Johnson & Johnson has been facing scrutiny for some time now over claims that its baby powder, which is a small but well-known component of its personal and household products business, has asbestos in it. Asbestos is now commonly understood as a dangerous carcinogen that can leave victims with a dangerous and hard to treat form of cancer.

Rural driving is far more dangerous than city driving

Most people who grow up driving in rural areas feel like it's far safer and far more comfortable than driving in the city. It doesn't feel nearly as chaotic. People don't seem like they're always in such a hurry, they treat each other with less hostility and there simply are not as many cars around to pack the roads past the breaking point.

While some of those things may be true, the reality is that rural driving is far more dangerous. Roughly 50% of deadly accidents happen in rural areas, per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, while the other 50% happen in the city.

Frequency of med mal claims declining, getting more costly

According to statistics, the number of medical malpractice claims which get paid has been steadily on the decline since they peaked in 2001. For example, in 2017, and among all medical professionals, there were just over 10,000 paid claims. In 1991, the number was much closer to 20,000.

Likewise, particularly when adjusted for inflation, the total dollar amount paid to resolve medical malpractice claims has fallen steadily, going from over $6 billion in 2001 down to under $4 billion in 2017.

July 4 weekend poised to set travel records

According to the American Automobile Association, or AAA, there will be 41.4 million people on traveling by car to reach their destination during the long holiday weekend. The AAA says that, at least since it began tracking these statistics back in 2000, this is the highest number of travelers taking to the highways.

Additionally, the AAA predicts there will be slightly more people, about 0.06%, using a form of mass transit, including buses, to reach their destinations. More people are also expected to fly during the holiday.

People in Northern Georgia may be hurt by hip liners

A manufacturer of hip implants, Smith & Nephew, is facing serious scrutiny for the way it made some of its hip replacement devices. A Northern Georgia resident who had hip replacement surgery or even a partial hip replacement between 2006 and 2015 may have a Smith & Nephew product in her body.

The problem with these products is that their lining simply does not stand the test of time. Without the lining, however, the metal parts of the hip implant will start to grind against each other. When they do, it can serious complications for the patient.

Study shows drivers nonchalant about marijuana use

A recent study published by the American Automobile Association, or AAA, shows that many drivers in Georgia may not fully appreciate the risks of driving while high on marijuana.

For instance, almost 15 million motorists admitted to, at least once the previous month, driving within 1 hour of ingesting marijuana. The problem of driving while high appears to be more prevalent among the younger generations of drivers, with 14% of Millennial drivers admitting to driving shortly after doing marijuana. Likewise, 10% of those in the so-called iGen, or Generation Z, admitted to doing so.

Critical traumatic brain injury statistics

Few things change your life as much as a traumatic brain injury. The potential for life-altering injuries that never heal is incredibly great. The injury itself could take just a split second -- a surgeon makes a mistake while doing surgery, for instance, or another driver runs a red light and T-bones your car -- but you may never fully heal and you may have to deal with that injury forever.

To understand this risk, let's take a look at some of the key statistics from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons:

  • 5.3 million: The number of people in the United States who live with a TBI-related disability.
  • 1.7 million: The number of new TBI cases that happen every single year in America alone.
  • $48-56 billion: The cost of all of the TBIs in the United States every year. This number includes both the direct costs and the indirect costs.
  • 78.8%: The percentage of men who suffer traumatic brain injuries, as compared to just 21.2 percent for women.
  • 235,000: The approximate number of TBI-related annual hospitalizations. It is important to note that, as devastating as spinal cord injuries can be, there are over 20 times as many hospitalizations for TBIs.
  • 435,000: The number of emergency room visits for TBIs that are made for children who are 14 years old and younger.
  • 2,685: The number of children from the above group who pass away from their injuries.
  • 80,000-90,000: The number of Americans every year who suffer TBIs and see the onset of disabilities that are either life-long or at least long-term.
  • 34%: The percentage of traumatic deaths that get attributed to head injuries on a yearly basis.

Crane accident serves as a reminder to Georgia employers

A crane accident in another state killed one member of the public and seriously injured 4 other people. It was not clear whether any of the 4 other people were workers, but authorities did say that two of the injured victims had suffered critical injuries.

The crane collapsed and fell on top of a nearby apartment building after succumbing to high winds from thunderstorms that hit the area.

The difference between cleared and approved

There are actually two ways in which a manufacturer of a medical device, including infamous ones like certain types of hip implants and vaginal mesh, can get permission from the Food and Drug Administration to market it to the public.

One way is to submit the device to a formal approval process, in which case the device can be marketed as FDA Approved. What this means is that the device has gone through a time of great scrutiny and, presumably, a battery of tests that should verify that the device is safe for consumer in Northern Georgia and elsewhere.

First responders particularly vulnerable to distracted driving

According to a recent study, first responders, like police officers, paramedics and firefighters and even tow truck operators, are particularly vulnerable to getting injured by a distracted driver.

Not only are first responders unprotected from a distracted driver who may run off the road while the responder is assisting a motorist, it seems that the frequency of distracted driving spikes around the scene of an accident. In other words, our technology has taken rubbernecking to a whole new level.

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